06 July 2006

China launches international project on herbal medicine

Wu Chong5 July 2006

Source: SciDev.Net
[BEIJING] China, the world's main producer of traditional and herbal medicines, has launched an international project to modernise the sector.
Yesterday (4 July) the Ministry of Science and Technology pledged an initial 100 million yuan (US$12.5 million) for projects that focus on developing new treatments for diseases such as cancer and HIV/AIDS.
It is the first time that China has initiated a multinational research project of this kind, which it hopes will provide an opportunity to boost health research in developing nations.
Jin Xiaoming, a senior ministry official says it is likely that China will launch research on artemisinin — a herbal medicine regarded as the best treatment for malaria — with African countries such as Kenya and South Africa.
The scheme has already attracted countries including the United States, Japan and Singapore, says Shang Yong, vice minister of science and technology.
The first 50 programmes, which will be selected by the ministry and matched with international partners, are due to start by the end of the year.
China hopes the project will help increase its share of the global market for traditional medicines.
Until now, traditional medicine's entry into global markets has been hampered by a lack of consensus in how to measure its efficacy. Thus the project will also include efforts to develop international standards for traditional remedies.
"It is much cheaper to develop a new herbal medicine than a Western one," says Shang. "So our programmes will have a strong appeal for transnational companies."
Such companies will be able to express their wish to participate through their embassy or their home country's science administration.
Shang added that companies, rather than colleges or research institutes, would play the major role in each programme, with an aim to "foster domestic pharmacists".
Chinese drug companies will gain extra funding and access to advanced facilities in developed nations to help them develop their traditional medicines.


Elsa Sa said...


Anxiety can occur because of a medical disorder or drug use.

Diseases that can cause anxiety are:

- Neurological abnormalities (head injury, brain infection, disease of the inner ears)
- Abnormalities of the heart and blood vessels (heart failure, arrhythmias)
- Endocrine disorders (adrenal gland or thyroid gland hyperactivity)
- Respiratory disorders (asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease).

Drugs that can cause anxiety are for example alcohol, stimulants, caffeine, cocaine and prescription drugs.

Anxiety can also occur when the drug is stopped.

Anxiety will be reduced if the problem's cause is treated or if the drug is stopped. The remains of anxiety can be treated with anti-anxiety medications that are appropriate, and also behavior therapy or psychotherapy.

Anti-anxiety drugs

Anti-anxiety drugs are called anxiolytic or sedatives, usually given to treat symptoms of anxiety. Anti-anxiety drugs have the effects of relaxing the muscles, reducing stress, helping you sleep and reducing anxiety.

The most commonly used are benzodiazepines. These drugs speed up the mental and physical relaxations by reducing neural activity in the brain. However, benzodiazepines can lead to physical dependence and consumption so you should be very careful.

Examples are:

- Alprazolam
- Klordiazepoksid
- Diazepam
- Flurazepam
- Lorazepam
- Oksazepam
- Temazepam
- Triazolam.

Before the discovery of benzodiazepines, barbiturates were the preferred drugs to treat anxiety in addition to natural anti-anxiety herbs. But these drugs had the potential to be abused, withdrawal symptoms are common and often lead to death of overdose, so they are rarely used anymore.

Buspirons have no chemical relationship or with benzodiazepines or other anti-anxiety drugs.The way they work is unknown, but they do not cause sedation and do not react with alcohol. The effects only emerge after 2 weeks or so, so they are only used to treat generalized anxiety.

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